From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 52 - March 22, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County faces recycling problem

by Trey Wilkinson

Pinedale resident Wendy Schwartz has started a petition to have all but one member of the Pinedale recycling board fired.

Schwartz, along with other community members, has started a coalition to aid in the recycling efforts around Sublette County.

The group attended Tuesday’s Sublette County Commissioners meeting with the petition, signed by 171 people, requesting members of the recycling board be removed from their positions.

Schwartz informed the commissioners she had collected the 171 signatures in less than 48 hours.

“As you know, I run a full time business as well, so it wasn’t like I was out pounding the streets for these signatures,” she said. “There were others that wanted to sign as well, but for one reason or another didn’t get a chance. Recycling is for our citizens and it looks like the majority of them want it.”

The recycling board consists of two people appointed by the town, three people appointed by the commissioners and one director.

According to Schwartz, if interested, the coalition would like to keep Sally MacKey on board.

“The people feel Sally has done a good job on the recycling board,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz listed a number of problems with recycling in Sublette County, including:

• Recycling is not being picked up at businesses or at residences.

• The center is so overcrowded that it’s “almost impossible to bring stuff in.”

• The door at the center is covered with ice and people and people have nearly fallen.

“They don’t have the staff for one reason or another to get things done properly,” Schwartz said. “The leader doesn’t do the manual work on a regular basis. We’re more than willing to do the work.”

Schwartz said three people have come to her telling her they would take full time jobs recycling.

Susan Kramer, former director of the recycle board, spoke to the commissioners on Tuesday telling them that for several months people have been complaining to her about the recycling center.

“There is no curbside pickup and they close unannounced on the weekends among other things,” Kramer said. “There is no excuse for the decline we’ve been seeing. There should be increased recycling with the increased population. We’re trying to get answers and we’re not getting any. It’s time to stop with the excuses and be responsible to the residents of this community.”

Schwartz said the group would like to change recycling from a for-profit to a non-profit business.

“If we could change it to non-profit we could take advantage of grants and local money available,” she said.

One example given by Schwartz was Shell Oil Company giving $5,000 to non-profit organizations.

“We are here for recycling and recycling only,” she said. “It’s not about a paycheck, it’s not a personality contest. It’s about being passionate about recycling. We need the county commissioners to hear us. This is an urgent matter.”

Pinedale resident Kathleen Peterson said she moved to Pinedale 4 1/2 years ago and at the time was pleased to see the county was forward thinking with recycling, however, recently had changed her stance.

“It has become very appalling,” she said. “When we heard that B-N-C (local trash company) was picking up the recyclables and taking them to the landfill I was furious. Enough is enough.”

“There is no way the local trash company could pick up all of the trash and recycling and put it in the landfill,” Schwartz said.

County commissioner Joel Bousman offered possibilities for discussion.

“The demand for recycling has outgrown the capacity for the facility,” he said. “When I spoke to the board I told them they need to look at short term and long term solutions. In the short term they need to keep the bailer running. You say you are passionate about recycling and want to help, then call and volunteer your help to get through the short term.”

Bousman then offered long term possibilities.

“These are only possibilities for discussion, not solutions,” he said. “Right now Jackson is sending Teton trucks full of trash to our landfill and they are leaving empty. Maybe we could talk with them about taking some of our recycling.”

Bousman also mentioned moving the facility to a place with a larger bailer.

County Commissioner Chairman Bill Cramer informed the meeting attendees that he was on the Board of County Commissioners when the recycling center was built.

“I was the first recipient of ‘Recycler of the Year’ for being an advocate for this program,” he said. “I care about recycling.”

Cramer asked if the citizens had communicated with the existing board by attending their meetings.

Only Kramer raised her hand signifying she had been to a board meeting.

“Communication is the key,” Cramer said. “I am not going to fire people on the board based on a petition when you have not attended their meetings.”

County Commissioner John Linn said while he didn’t think he’d win any recycling awards he supports recycling because people are so passionate about it.

“At the same time, I respect the people on the (recycling) board,” he said. “It’s important you attend the board meeting and tell them the same things you are telling us.”

Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith said he has received a number of phone calls and office visits regarding the recycling center.

“It will be something that is decided on at the county level,” Smith said. “I’m anxious to see what happens.”

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